NPHF/AstraZeneca Diversity Scholarships Program

The NPHF/AstraZeneca Diversity Scholarship Program addressed the critical need to broaden the ethnic and racial diversity of the nurse practitioner profession. It is urgent that the NP profession recruit, train, and retrain men and women of diverse ethnic, racial, and cultural backgrounds in order to meet the public health demand for multicultural services, especially with underserved populations. Helping minority nurses achieve graduate NP preparation is a priority for the Nurse Practitioner Healthcare Foundation.

Three scholarships of $4000 each were awarded to graduate nurse practitioner minority students with a practice emphasis on serving underserved, diverse populations and reducing health disparities. This program was supported through an educational grant from AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals.

This award is no longer being offered until we find new funding to support it.

Past Award Recipients


Lindsey M. Harris, BSN (Fultondale, AL)

Ms. Harris practices as a charge registered nurse at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital. She is pursuing her Master of Science in Nursing in the family nurse practitioner program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (December, 2011). Ms. Harris volunteers in a free clinic for the underserved, with Big Brothers Big Sisters, and performing health screenings with the Birmingham Black Nurses Association. After obtaining her degree, Ms. Harris plans to work for Community Care Network, addressing healthcare disparities and access to healthcare among the underserved. Her ultimate goal is to open a free clinic to provide preventative healthcare to the underserved.

Stephanie J. Mahooty, BSN, RN, CNN (Chandler, AZ)

Ms. Mahooty practices as a nurse mentor for Arizona State University College of Nursing. She is pursuing her Doctorate of Nursing Practice in the adult nurse practitioner program at Arizona State University College of Nursing and Health Innovation (May, 2012). Ms. Mahooty volunteers with the Basha High School Football Booster Committee, the Evercare Alzheimer’s Walk taking blood pressure and DEXA screenings, the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute doing memory screenings, the Tempe Pyle Center – Senior Center doing cataract and vision screenings, the National Kidney Foundation, Council of Advance Practitioners as a host committee member, the American Indian Students United for Nursing coordinating mentorships, and with the American Nephrology Nurses’ Association. After obtaining her degree, Ms. Mahooty plans to specialize in nephrology in order to prevent, identify early, clinically manage, and collaborate with other disciplines to provide care for American Indian communities who are at high risk for chronic kidney disease.

Helen E. Rodriguez, BSN, RN (West Palm Beach, FL)

Ms. Rodriguez works as a teaching assistant in the Simulation Technology Laboratory at the Florida Atlantic University Christine E. Lynn Collect of Nursing where she is pursuing her Master of Science in Nursing in the family nurse practitioner program (May, 2011). Ms. Rodriguez volunteers as a translator, medical assistant and registered nurse with a nurse practitioner managed clinic that is located in an underserved community, provides influenza immunizations and glucose screening with a homeless shelter, health screenings for children at a community health center, and as a registered nurse, interpreter, ARNP student at the Florida Department of Health. After obtaining her degree, Ms. Rodriguez plans to work for the Florida Department of Health as a family nurse practitioner reaching out to the Hispanic population. Finally, Ms. Rodriguez would like to continue her schooling and pursue a Doctorate of Nursing Practice.


Juliet Chandler, RN, FNP-C, JD, PhD(c)

Ms. Chandler is studying for a PhD in nursing with a focus on health policy at the University of California, San Francisco. She practices as a diabetes educator, a public health nurse, and as a preceptor. Ms. Chandler was born in Manila, Philippines, lived in Saigon, Vietnam and moved to the U.S. at the age of 10. Her first BS was in psychobiology; her second in nursing. Ms. Chandler spent 8 years in the Philippines, Thailand, and China training students in leadership skills. She volunteers her time at the Diabetes Free Clinic of Rotacare, International, providing healthcare services to uninsured patients with diabetes. She also coordinates diabetes and hypertension screening events throughout the Monterey Peninsula area for low income populations. Her work with undocumented Latino immigrants led to a deep concern for the staggering problems of migrant workers, and she obtained a law degree in order to be a more effective advocate for this population. Her goal is to improve the quality and access to care of uninsured, indigent immigrants. Ms. Chandler’s dissertation is on health inequalities among undocumented, Latina immigrants with chronic illnesses.


Marcia M. Harris, MS, FNP-C—has completed post-master’s work as a Psychiatric/Mental Health nurse practitioner at the University of Texas at Arlington. Ms. Harris practices as a family nurse practitioner in the Special Needs Offender Programs in Dallas, Texas. She volunteers her time as a FAME Mentor, performing health screenings, and at career day events. In her FNP practice, Ms. Harris is at a clinic in an economically disadvantaged neighborhood. She realized that many patients had both medical and mental illness problems but had difficulties getting treatment for both ailments because of transportation and economic issues. Ms. Harris did her post-master’s work in the psychiatric/mental health area, so that she can treat both the medical and psychiatric illnesses of the medically underserved patients in her practice.

Jacqueline E. Higuera, BSN, RN—is pursuing her Master of Science in Nursing degree in community health nursing, in the adult nurse practitioner program at the University of Michigan, School of Nursing. She has worked as an occupational health nurse in Columbia and in the U.S.. She has also worked in hospitals in both countries as a labor and delivery nurse, and in the Surgical Care, Critical Care and Hemodialysis Care Units. Ms. Higuera has taught as a professor at the Universidad de Ciencias Aplicadas Y Ambientales in Bogota, Columbia. Ms. Higuera obtained her nursing degree in Bogota, Columbia and her occupational and environmental health certifications in Spain. Ms. Higuera is fluent in Spanish and English. She participates in diverse community service activities through the University as well as the Annual Gandhi Day of Service in Detroit. Her goal is to work on improving the knowledge, decision-making, and access to safe preconception health for women from minority, principally Hispanic and African American, underserved communities.


Erica Bolar, RN, BSN—is studying for her Master of Science in Nursing degree at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia with a dual focus in family nurse practitioner and emergency nurse practitioner. She works with homeless, low-income and Spanish-speaking populations as an emergency room nurse and medical interpreter. Erica is active in her church, is a National Health Service Corps ambassador, serves on medical mission trips to Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic and volunteers in clinics serving low-income populations. Her goals are to provide cost-effective, quality bilingual primary health care to African American and Hispanic populations in the emergency room and in primary care settings. She will also continue her volunteer work.

TaWanda Mercer, RN, BSN—is studying for her Master of Science in Nursing degree at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, School of Nursing, specializing as a psychiatric and mental health nurse practitioner. TaWanda presently works as a nurse in the psychiatric emergency center caring for the mentally ill in crisis. She chairs her sorority’s physical and mental health committee, which provides mental health services in the community. She also volunteers with the Open Door Mission Homeless Shelter, and serves as a mentor to high school students interested in healthcare careers. She plans to work as a psychiatric NP at the Charles Drew Health Care Clinic, which provides care and medications to indigent patients. She plans to focus primarily on care of mentally ill adults from the local homeless shelter.

Update: Ms. Mercer graduated from her degree program with an MSN in psychiatric nurse practitioner.  She serves children and adults in a suburban setting with 50-60 percent of her patients from underserved populations.  Ms. Mercer also precepts students as well as mentoring high school students through the Delta Leadership Academy.  She would like to obtain her DNP and eventually open her own practice.

Yuriko Lee, BSN, MSN—is a family nurse practitioner/nurse midwifery graduate student in the Master of Science in Nursing program at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Yuriko is multilingual, able to communicate in English, Spanish and Japanese. Throughout her career, she has served low income, uninsured populations, and migrant populations. She has also worked with transgendered, gay/lesbian, the deaf, and other marginalized populations. Yuriko’s future plan is to work in a non-profit organization, providing primary care for minority populations with a focus on women’s health, HIV/AIDS care, and chronic disease management.

Raquel Gonzalez Roepke, BSN, MSN—is a Master of Science in Nursing student in the Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Program at Kennesaw State University, WellStar College of Health and Human Services School of Nursing in Kennesaw, Georgia. Raquel was a practicing physician in Panama before emigrating to the United States. In the U.S., she has worked as a medical translator and childbirth/lactation consultant and volunteers in various health screening activities in her community each month. She is passionate about working with the Hispanic community and the underserved, and hopes to work in an OB/Gyn clinic that serves the Hispanic population upon completion of her program.

Ivonne Johnson, MSN, ARNP—is enrolled in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program at the University of Central Florida School of Nursing in Orlando, Florida. Known as an outstanding NP, she is ranked #1 among mid-level providers in a group of over 60 practices in central Florida. Ivonne volunteers weekly at Shepards Hope Clinic, which provides free acute and chronic care to low income and minority populations. Ivonne administers a Coronary Health Improvement Program in her church, is active in local schools, serves as a preceptor for NP students, and works with the Red Cross. At the primary care office where she works, 10% of the daily practice is devoted to charitable service. Upon completion of her DNP, she hopes to develop and implement systems that will promote wellness among the minority community and reduce the usage of urgent care settings for preventable illnesses.

Eleanor Lee, PhD, ARNP—is completing a Post Master’s Gerontological Nurse Practitioner Certificate Program at Seattle University College of Nursing in Seattle, Washington. Eleanor is the director and founder of the Kin On Community Health Care Home Health Program, which is the only home health program in Washington specifically serving the Asian population. She also has established the only in-home hospice program for Asian elders in the community. Eleanor speaks in different forums within the Asian community on health issues. Her passion is to serve the elderly population, especially within the under-served Asian community.

Update: Ms. Lee received her GNP post-master’s certificate August 15, 2010.  Ms. Lee is the clinical director of Kin On Community Health Care and medical staff at an Asian counseling and referral service where she also precepts NP students.


Ukamaka OrucheUkamaka Oruche, MSN, PMHNP—Ukamaka is focused on child and adolescent mental health, working with children in mental health clinics, schools, and juvenile detention centers. Her mission is to make care accessible to her patients and to minimize the stigma associated with mental illnesses. Ukamaka commutes to visit patients, minimizing barriers to care and increasing the involvement of family members. With such a diverse group of patients, she knows first-hand the importance of using culturally sensitive treatment approaches, and invites staff and patients to attend monthly cultural competency meetings.

Brenda TrogdonBrenda Trogdon, MSN, FNP—Brenda’s nursing experience ranges from neonatal ICU to providing health care to the homeless. Continually providing care to the underserved, Brenda lives in a rural region of Florida and opened a free clinic out of her home to treat African-American, Hispanic and Native American populations with limited health literacy. At the same time, she runs a military base medical facility for at-risk teens. In the future, Brenda plans to open a free clinic in her hometown of Starke, Florida.

Jimmy ReyesJimmy Reyes, MSN, A/GNP—Raised in Santiago, Chile, Jimmy learned about the nursing profession from his grandmother, who was a nurse. He relocated and is currently pursuing his doctorate in nursing practice. Jimmy plans to open a free clinic to bring quality health care to migrant farm-workers, minority groups, the elderly and Spanish-speaking populations. An avid volunteer, Jimmy works for Proteus Migrant Health Clinic, where he treats mainly Spanish-speaking older adults. This experience opened his eyes to the importance of providing culturally sensitive care, inspiring him to organize monthly “cultural cafes” for students and faculty.

Update: Mr. Reyes graduated with his MSN/ARNP and is pursuing his PhD/DNP from the University of Iowa College of Nursing.   While a full-time PhD/DNP student, Mr. Reyes teaches two undergraduate courses and assists in the facilitation of research in the Clinical and Translational Science Award program.  Mr. Reyes has been the recipient of numerous awards as well as being a published author and seasoned presenter.  He is active in five professional societies, including the National Association of Hispanic Nurses and The American Geriatrics Society.  Mr. Reyes volunteers with several organizations, such as Proteus, Inc, a migrant health clinic, the Iowa City Free Medical Clinic and is director of the Conesville Migrant Health Clinic.  Mr. Reyes would like to pursue a post-doctorate after completing his PhD/DNP.